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Tiramisu means “pick me up” and is a popular coffee-flavored Italian dessert. It is made of ladyfingers or Boudoir Biscuits dipped in coffee, layered with a whipped mixture of eggs, sugar, and mascarpone cheese, flavoured with cocoa. Countless variations of Tiramisu exist. (see variations below).   Marsala wine can be added to the recipe, but other liquors are frequently substituted for it including dark rum, Madeira, port, brandy, Malibu, or Irish Cream and especially coffee flavored liqueurs such as Tia Maria and Kahlua.

250 ml espresso or strong black coffee
15 ml castor sugar
30 ml Kahlua liqueur, brandy or Marsala
200 g pack Boudoir biscuits or Lady fingers
4 large egg yolks
100 g/125 ml castor sugar
2 x 250 g Mascarpone cheese or creamed cottage cheese
2 ml vanilla extract

To serve
cocoa powder for dusting

  1. Have ready a large rectangular dish (about 350 x 250 mm).
  2. Combine the coffee, sugar, Kahlua liqueur, brandy or Marsala and cool to room temperature.
  3. Arrange the biscuits on the base of the dish, trimming the biscuits to fit snugly into the dish.  Pour the cooled coffee mixture evenly over the biscuits.
  4. Beat the egg yolks and castor sugar very well until extremely light and pale yellow.  Add the cheese and vanilla and beat until the mixture thickens to the consistency of whipped cream.
  5. Pour the mixture over the biscuits, spread evenly and cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  6. Sift an even thin layer of cocoa decoratively over the top of the dessert and cut into squares.
  7. Place on serving plates and garnish as preferred.

10 to 12 servings.

Tiramisu in bowls – to serve elegantly, cut the biscuits into smaller sections, soak in the coffee mixture and divide between 12 small glass bowls or stemmed glasses. Our the cheese mixture over the biscuits, cover and refrigerate for at least 3 to 4 hours. Dust lightly with cocoa and garnish as preferred just before serving.

Moulded Tiramisu cake – To make a moulded cake or dessert which may be sliced neatly into wedges, dip the biscuits in the coffee mixture and cut and arrange the biscuits into a large, round, springform cake tin (about 28 mm in diameter), lined with baking paper. A 28 mm pie dish can also be used.  Cover 15 ml gelatine powder with 60 ml water and microwave on Medium for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until melted.  Stir 30 ml of the cheese into the gelatine, mix well and add to the egg mixture with the rest of the cheese.  Complete as explained above and refrigerate for at least 3 to 4 hours before slicing and serving with garnishes as preferred.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster from the Art Of Cooking recipe book page 518.

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